THE HIPSTERS OF OMO VALLEY
Something cool is happening in Ethiopia. This is an exploration of the Ethiopian Hipster culture and the disbandment of masculine vs feminine style and ‘androgyny’.
Growing up I danced with the idea of information and exposure being the weapons of mistruths for how we are cultured to think and ultimately exist in the modern world. With the publishing of concepts like the ‘Man box’ and other psychological shackles we’ve been forced to wear as 21st century men and women you’ll come to realize just why I thought it important to write about this. The pre- millennials from the Omo Valley of Ethiopia is proving my theory to be true and it’s absolutely amazing. If you care about style, and I mean inside-out-style and gender politics then you’ll care about what’s happening over there on the African continent.
In a current time where market day is basically the equivalent of a western world club-run, in Omo Valley the Ethiopian hipsters are taking it very seriously… or something like that. We see where these 12-20 year olds have done away with the concept of maleness and the general connotation of what it means to be masculine and feminine. And yes I know I know, the culture of general Ethiopia is not set in a way to decimate the ‘ok-ness’ of the delicate disposition of their men or the raucous and sensual display of feminity of its girls and has not been that way for a very long time.
But what makes what the youth of the past half-decade in Omo Valley forefathers of style and freedom is the culmination of commercially tailored clothes mixed in with the traditional dressage. It’s the influence that has found its way into their culture and exploded upon what they were already doing. Truth be told, it’s only “amazing” and “groundbreaking” to us outsiders with our well informed and exposed selves where two men holding hands means something way more politically and morally unsound that it does 12ks kilometers away in east Africa.
I could of course go on in further exploration to excavate the paradoxical ways that a sub-culture of our most masculine men has been built on (Rastafarians) as far as the celebration of returning home to Africa where everything is pure and generally the way it should be – but I won’t. I will instead just take the time out to ‘big up’ the Hipsters of Omo Valley for knowingly or unknowingly inspiring us well and ill-informed progressives. I hope to follow this advancement and rooting of what I think to be an amazing zeitgeist of the time I’m growing old in for my children will and must grow as free as this. I would also hope that the knowledge of this other-Worldly style will curve our Americanized minds to think of fashion in style in a more personal way. But alas, take a look at these images captured by Spanish photographer and filmmaker Alex Franco.